A week away from Minnesota United action is tough for anyone to endure. But not to worry, Loons fans, there’s a jam-packed slate of incredible international football on the horizon, beginning tonight. And just in case you don’t already have your World Cup Qualifying TV schedule mapped out, we put together a little guide highlighting some key matches in CONCACAF, as well as a few noteworthy contests featuring MNUFC players.
Thursday, March 24
USA @ Mexico – 9:00 p.m. CT
TV: CBS Sports Network, fubo TV, Paramount+, DirecTV Stream, TUDN, Univision
Start off your week with one of the most intense rivalries in soccer. Currently, the USMNT sits in second place in their group, while Mexico comes in just behind them, tied in overall points but trailing in goal differential. Both teams have recorded six wins, three draw, and two losses in group play. The USMNT is looking to get their fourth consecutive win against El Tri; however, it’s not going to be easy, as they have never won a World Cup Qualifier at Azteca Stadium.
Honduras @ Panama – 8:05 p.m. CT
Minnesota United midfielders Kervin Arriaga and Joseph Rosales will be joining Honduras as they seek their first win in the World Cup Qualifiers, while Panama looks to nab three points and make a lake push to secure their spot among the automatic qualifiers. La H has yet to win a single match and are in danger of going winless in this competition for the first time since the 1990 campaign, with only three draws and eight losses after 11 games. On the other side, Panama desperately needs a home victory against the bottom team in the bracket to maintain their one-point advantage over Costa Rica for the fourth spot — and potentially even push for a spot in the top three.
Canada @ Costa Rica – 9:05 p.m. CT
TV: Paramount+, fubo TV, direcTV Stream, Universo
Though he is unlikely to get the start, Loons goalkeeper Dayne St. Clair will proudly wear the national colors as a red-hot Canada National Team square off against Costa Rica. A victory over Costa Rica would guarantee Canada a ticket to World Cup 2022. The Canucks are the only unbeaten team in their group, leading the table with 25 points. Meanwhile, los Ticos are currently in fifth place, one point behind Panama, hoping to secure an inter-confederation playoff spot and a chance to play on the biggest stage in the world.
Friday, March 25
South Africa vs. Guinea – 12:00 p.m. CT
TV: SABC Sport
Bongokuhle Hlongwane returns to South Africa to lead his squad in an international friendly against Guinea after not qualifying for the World Cup. South Africa enters this match as the home favorites, having won four of their six matches compared to Guinea’s two wins, one draw and three losses.
Saturday, March 26
Finland vs. Iceland – 11:00 a.m. CT
MNUFC winger Robin Lod heads back to Europe to join Finland as they compete in a friendly against Iceland. The two teams have not met since September of 2017 during a FIFA World Cup Qualifier match where Finland was able to secure three points with a tight 1-0 win. Prior to that match, Iceland had won two straight games in 2016 against the Finnish side with a tight 3-2 and 1-0 scoreline. While this matchup is a friendly and not a World Cup Qualifier, if history is any predictor of what this game has in store, there's no doubt that this match will be a close one with plenty of action.
Sunday, March 27
Canada vs. Jamaica – 3:05 p.m. CT
TV: Paramount+, fubo TV, DirecTV Stream, Universo
Canada and St. Clair, the boys at the top of the table, take on Jamaica this Sunday. With a record of seven wins and four draws in the CONCACAF qualifiers, Canada is at the top of the table and in a good position to take down Jamaica who is currently in seventh place, but crazier things have happened in the world of soccer. Can Canada keep up their undefeated record? Tune in to find out!
USA vs. Panama – 6:00 p.m. CT
TV: FS1, fubo TV, DirecTV Stream, Sling Blue, UniMás, TUDN
The last time The Yanks met up with Panama, the U.S. lost a tightly-contested battle with a final scoreline of 1-0. Coming off a tough contest at Azteca Thursday, and entering the final stage of group play just four points ahead of Panama, this matchup in Orlando could go a long way in determining whether the U.S. can punch their ticket to Qatar. With only three teams receiving an automatic berth, the three points up for grabs from this game will be absolutely crucial for both sides.
Honduras vs. Mexico – 6:05 p.m. CT
TV: Paramount+, fubo TV, DirecTV, Stream, Peacock Premium, Telemundo, Universo
La H haven’t defeated El Tri since the last FIFA Qualifiers in 2017, where they won 3-2. Since then, Mexico has beaten Honduras two out of the three times they’ve played against one another. Mexico should be the favorite in this affair, but even against the bottom team in the bracket, road contests always present an opportunity for slip-up. The outcome in Thursday’s matchup between the USMNT and MNFT will go a long way in determining just how many points El Tri needs out of this contest.
Tuesday, March 29
Finland vs. Slovakia – 11:00 a.m. CT
Finland and Slovakia have only played each other three times in their history—twice in 1998 and once in 2014. Throughout those three games, Finland was not able to secure a win against Slovakia, recording two losses and one 0-0 draw. However, much has changed in the years since their last matchup. With eight years of growth for both sides, the direction that this game will go in is still up in the air, leaving plenty of room for an interesting game.
France vs. South Africa – 2:15 p.m. CT
Minnesota United’s exciting young forward, Bongokuhle Hlongwane, will have a chance to play on a major world stage, as he helps South Africa in taking on reigning World Cup Champions, now led by one of the biggest stars on the planet, Kylian Mbappé. It will be a tough task for an overmatched South African squad, but for a young star like Bongi, this presents an incredible opportunity to test his skill against the game’s best.
Wednesday, March 30
USA @ Costa Rica – 8:05 p.m. CT
TV: Paramount+, fubo TV, DirecTV Stream, Peacock Premium, Universo
While the USMNT enters the final stage of qualifying two spots ahead of Costa Rica, both teams have two games before they meet up on March 30 for what will be the final match in the CONCACAF World Cup Qualifiers. With only five points separating the US and Costa Rica, the competition is tight, and the top three spots are far from set in stone. Only time will tell if this battle will end with the US redeeming themselves after failing to qualify for the tournament in 2014, or if Costa Rica will make their sixth appearance in the cup. Whichever way it goes, this game promises to be a tough one.
Honduras @ Jamaica – 8:05 p.m. CT
Although these two teams are at the bottom of the group, this is a matchup you don’t want to miss. The last time these two teams played each other, Jamaica won 2-0. Honduras
hasn’t beat the Reggae Boyz since 2013 and is looking to change that in the record books with the help of Loons Kervin Arriaga and Joseph Rosales.
Canada @ Panama – 8:05 p.m. CT
In their most recent matchup in October, Canada secured a comfortable 4-1 win over Panama. Since then, they've gone on a five-game winning streak and are absolutely red-hot going into the final three games of qualifiers. The Canucks will hope to continue that momentum and have a spot in Qatar fully locked in by the time they kick off against Panama. Of course, nothing is ever guaranteed in CONCACAF play, and with Panama currently right below the cut off to receive a berth to the World Cup, they are sure to bring everything they have to these final games and give Canada a run for their money.